Attempted Coup D'etat of 1893, and the Counter Revolution
The closing acts of the Legislature of 1892, narrated in the last
chapter had been entirely unexpected by the community of Honolulu. The
general feeling of indignation was intense, but there was no thought of
any revolutionary action, or of any opposition to the existing
Government except within the limits of the Constitution.
The U. S. cruiser Boston, Captain Wiltse, had sailed for Hilo, with the
U. S. Minister, J. L. Stevens, as a passenger, on the fourth of January,
1893, and was absent from Honolulu ten days. Having left the city in
apparent tranquility, Minister Stevens returned about 10 o'clock on the
morning of the fourteenth, to find himself unexpectedly in the midst of
The events of that day occurred in such rapid succession, attended by
such intense excitement, that it is difficult now to arrange details in
their proper order.
Mark P. Robinson, P C. Jones, G. N. Wilcox
Although the community in general was entirely in the dark as to the
intention of the Queen to proclaim a new Constitution, a few persons had
received intimations of the fact.
From the Queen's written statement, fully corroborated by other
evidence, it is certain that all the members of her last Cabinet had
accepted office with the understanding that they should sign her new
Constitution and assist in its promulgation.
Mr. C. B. Wilson, who was the Marshal, has stated that she discussed the
project with him on the 8th of January, and again on the 13th, in
connection with the appointment of the new Cabinet, and that on both
occasions he opposed it, denying "its suitability and feasibility at the
time." On the 10th Mr. Marcus Colburn sent a warning to the Wilcox-Jones
Ministry, through Mr. Henry Waterhouse, stating that the Queen intended
to promulgate a new Constitution, and that in case she was not able to
get the Wilcox Ministry voted out, her plan was, after the prorogation
of the Legislature, to invite the four Ministers over to the palace and
to lay before them the new Constitution which she had prepared, and that
if they refused to sign it, they were to be made prisoners.
An unsigned letter, written the next day, undoubtedly by John Colburn,
and addressed to Mr. P. C. Jones, contains the following passage: "If
you don't get out of office, and a new Constitution is shoved on this
country by the Queen, you four men and your hypocritical supporters will
be to blame for it, etc."
At a caucus of the Queen's party, held on Friday night, the l3th, one of
the members, John Kaluna by name, said that if he could establish the
new Constitution, he would die happy, provided he could kill a few white
men before dying.
Between 10 and 11 o'clock A. M. of the 14th, Mr. John Colburn called at
the office of Mr. A. S. Hartwell, informed him that the Queen was
determined to proclaim a new Constitution that very afternoon, and asked
his advice. At is request Mr. Hartwell called in Messrs. L. A. Thurston
and W. O. Smith, who strongly advised him and his colleagues to see the
Queen immediately, and tell her that the Constitution must not be
promulgated, and that if she persisted in her design, it would be the
death-warrant of the Monarchy ; to refuse to countersign the new
Constitution, and to decline to resign if their resignations should be
demanded ; if the Queen persisted in her attempt, to declare her to be
in revolution against the Government, and to call upon the people for
support against her; assuring them of the united support of the
community if this course were followed. Mr. Colburn then hurried back to
see the Queen, but failed to see her before the ceremony of prorogation.
At the same time Mr. W. 0. Smith called at the Chamber of Commerce,
(which had met to consider a memorial on the lottery bill), and informed
the merchants present of the impending crisis. The facts were also
communicated to Captain Wiltse, of the Boston, who simply said that he
was here for the purpose of protecting the lives and property of
American citizens, and that he would do it if called upon. Mr. Hartwell
promptly laid the matter before Minister Stevens, who had just landed
from the Boston. At his suggestion, Minister Stevens sought the
co-operation of the British Commissioner, Major Wodehouse, and they two
went together to the Foreign Office to seek an interview with the Queen.
They were, however, too late, the ceremony of prorogation having already
The ceremony of
proroguing the Legislature took place at noon with the usual pomp and
display. The members opposed to the lottery had absented themselves, as
did nearly all the white residents and most of the Diplomatic Corps, but
the U. S. Consul-General and Lieutenant Young, of the Boston, were
present. A native political society called the "Hui Kalaiaina," about
forty in number, attended, wearing broadcloth suits, with tall hats, and
badges, and carrying banners. Immediately after the prorogation, they
marched across the street to the Palace, two and two, headed by their
president, Alapai and one John Akina, who "carried a large flat package
in front of his breast, suspended by ribbons from his shoulders.
This was the
"Constitution." It had been previously arranged by the Queen that they
should bring the Constitution which she had prepared, and go through the
form of asking her to proclaim it. The members of the Legislature, the
Diplomatic Corps, and other officials were invited over to the Palace to
lend eclat to the intended coup.
A. P. Peterson,
W. H. Cornwell,
C. B. Wilson,
Conference In The Foreign Office
As soon as the Queen had left the Government building to return to the
Palace, the four Ministers, at the request of the Diplomatic Corps, held
an interview with them in the Foreign Office. Major Wodehouse asked them
whether it was true that the Queen intended to promulgate a new
constitution that afternoon, to which Mr. Parker replied that ''it was a
fact." He had not seen the Constitution, but the Queen had requested
them to come over and sign it." Major Wodehouse then inquired what
course the Cabinet would take, on which they all assured him they would
not consent to sign the new Constitution. Major Wodehouse emphatically
said that the Queen must not promulgate a new Constitution, and that if
she had any such idea she must abandon it. In the course of the
conversation Mr. Stevens inquired whether the Queen had signed the
lottery bill. On Mr. Parker's replying in the affirmative, he asked
again whether the Cabinet had advised her to sign it. Mr. Peterson
explained that the Queen considered that the bill having passed the
Legislature, she ought to sign it, as she had no reason for vetoing it,
and that the Cabinet agreed with her. Mr. Stevens is reported to have
"pounded his cane upon the floor," and to have exclaimed that the
passage of that bill was a direct attack upon the United States. This
alleged remark was made a serious grievance of by the Cabinet.
The meeting then broke
up and the Cabinet went directly to the Palace, while Mr. Stevens and
Major Wodehouse returned home.
Scene In The Palace
In the meantime a large concourse of Hawaiians had assembled around the
Palace gates, and in the grounds near the front entrance of the
building, while the household troops were drawn up in line from the
front steps of the Palace to the west gate, under arms, with their belts
full of cartridges. In the throne-room the "Hui Kalaiaina" were drawn up
in regular lines, and their president, Alapai, had an address to
deliver, which he held open in his hand. Besides these, most of the
native members of the Legislature, Chief-Justice Judd with Justice
Bickerton, some members of the Diplomatic Corps and other officials were
stationed as for a State ceremony.
Meanwhile a memorable scene was taking place in the blue room, to which
the Cabinet had been summoned by the Queen. On their tardy arrival, she
at once placed before them a copy of her new Constitution, demanded
their signatures, and declared her intention to promulgate it at once.
According to his own account, Mr. Parker said, "Your Majesty, we have
not read that Constitution, but before we read it you must know that
this is a revolutionary act. It cannot be done."
An angry discussion followed. The Cabinet spoke of the meeting just held
with the foreign representatives, of the danger of an uprising, etc.
She told them that "she would not have undertaken such a step if they
had not encouraged her." She said, "they had led her to the brink of a
precipice, and now were leaving her to take the leap alone." She also
said, " Why not give the people this Constitution and I will bear the
brunt of all the blame afterwards."
Mr. Peterson said, "We
have not read this Constitution," on which she exclaimed, "How dare you
say that, when you have had it in your possession for a month?" She then
invited them to resign, which they declined to do. She went on to
threaten the Cabinet that unless they acceded to her wishes she would go
upon the steps of the Palace and tell the excited mob that she wished to
give them a new Constitution, but that her Ministers were inside,
hindering her from doing so. These Ministers well remembered the Court
House riot of 1874, and the fate of the unlucky representatives who then
fell into the hands of the mob. Before her threat could be put into
execution, three of the Ministers escaped from the Palace by different
exits, and repaired to their offices in the Government building. Mr.
Parker alone remained with the Queen, fearing that if left lone, she
might sign the Constitution herself, proclaim it from the Palace
balcony, complaining that her Cabinet and judges would not comply with
her wishes, and tell the people to look out for them. Meanwhile Marshal
Wilson told the Chief-Justice in great emotion that he had been fighting
the battle alone all the morning, and that the Queen was determined to
carry out her design.
Appeal To The Citizens
About 1:30 p. M. Mr. J. F. Colburn came to Mr. W. O. Smith's office in
great excitement, and requested him to come at once to the
Attorney-General's office, in the Government Building, which he did.
Messrs. Thurston, Wundenberg, and E. C. Macfarlane were already there,
and other leading residents came in afterward. After Mr. Colburn had
related the occurrence in the Blue Room, Mr. Thurston spoke
emphatically, exhorting the Ministers to stand firm, and by no means to
resign, and his views were supported by all who were present. Presently
John Richardson, in the uniform of an officer of the Queen's staff, came
over with a message from the Queen, requesting the three Ministers to
return to the palace. They were advised, however, not to go, as they
constituted a majority of the executive branch of the Government and
might have to assume a grave responsibility to prevent the overthrow of
the existing Constitution.
Besides, Mr. Colburn declared that their lives would be in danger if
they went back to the Palace Accordingly they sent back by Mr.
Richardson a message to Mr. Parker to come over at once to the
Attorney-General's office, which he did, and the whole situation was
In reply to their
request for advice, Mr. Thurston proposed to them that they should
declare the Queen to be in revolution and the throne vacant, and with
their consent drew up a form of proclamation to that effect, which he
says was approved of by two of them. He also advised, that as they did
not know but that the Queen might take immediate forcible action against
them, they should sign a letter asking the support of the American
Minister, and deliver it to some third party, not to be used unless
circumstances rendered it necessary. The Ministers approved of the
suggestion, and he immediately drafted the following letter:
Mr. Colburn states that
he did not sign this letter, but gave it over to Mr. Peterson.
" His Excellency Jno. L. Stevens, American Minister
Resident, and Capt. G. C. Wiltse, Commander of U. S. S. Boston.
Gentlemen : On behalf of the Hawaiian Cabinet, you
are hereby informed that certain persons, without authority of law,
have prepared and caused to be promulgated a document purporting to
be a new Constitution, subversive of the rights of the people, and
contrary to the law and Constitution of the land. That such illegal
action is taken in the name of Her Majesty Liliuokalani, and is
proposed to be supported by force. That the Cabinet maintain that
such action is revolutionary and treasonable, and they hereby
request the assistance of the United States troops to maintain order
and support the Government."
Messrs. Thurston and Smith then left the building to go down town, but
were overtaken at Richards street by a messenger from the Cabinet,
requesting Mr. Thurston to return, which he did. He was then asked by
the Cabinet " to ascertain what support they could expect from citizens,
and in their behalf to call for armed volunteers to resist the Queen."
He immediately went to Mr. W. O. Smith's office, where he drafted a
declaration stating what the Queen was attempting to do, and pledging
the armed support of the signers to the Cabinet against the Queen, after
which he proceeded, with the help of others,' to comply with their
request. This document was signed by over eighty persons, including Mr.
Paul Neumann, within an hour.
Leading citizens of all parties crowded into Mr. W. O. Smith's office
and discussed the course to be pursued.
"There was but one mind among all those gathered together. An unanimity
of sentiment prevailed such as has not been witnessed here for years,
and it was agreed, without a dissenting voice, that it was the duty of
every good citizen, without distinction of party, to support the law and
the liberties of the people, and to resist the usurpation of the Queen."
Unfortunately this paper, as well as the minutes of the meeting held
that afternoon, have been lost. Mr. Smith then returned to the
Government building to inform the Cabinet of the sentiment of the
Meanwhile Mr. Hassinger had been sent around to the Diplomatic
representatives, requesting them to meet the Cabinet again in the
Foreign office. They came without delay, and were in consultation with
them for perhaps half an hour. According to Mr. Colburn, they strongly
advised the Cabinet to return to the Palace and tell the Queen that she
must abandon her project at once.
At length, about 2:30 p. M., the four Ministers revisited the Palace,
not without fear that they might be put under arrest, even if they
suffered no bodily harm.
Just after they had left the Government building they met Mr. W. O.
Smith, who delivered to them his message concerning the feeling of the
citizens down town.
Postponement Of The Coup D’etat
The second conference in the Blue Room was a stormy and protracted one.
For hours the result trembled in the balance. The Queen could not wholly
renounce her cherished scheme, but finally consented with bitter
reluctance to a temporary postponement of it. All this time the company
assembled in the Throne Room were patiently waiting to hear the Queen's
decision, while in front of the Government building a crowd of
spectators stood watching the Palace with intense anxiety. Revolution
At length about 4 P. M.
the Queen returned to the Throne Room, fresh from her contest with the
Cabinet, with anger and defiance in her looks and bearing, but
controlling herself by a supreme effort of will. Ascending the dais, she
made an address in Hawaiian, of which the following is a fair
I have listened to
the thousands of voices of my people that have come to me, and 1 am
prepared to grant their request. The present Constitution is full of
defects, as the Chief-Justice here will testify, as questions
regarding it have so often come before him for settlement. It is so
faulty that I think a new one should be granted. I have prepared one
in which the rights of all have been regarded a Constitution suited
to the wishes of the people. I was ready and expected to proclaim
the new Constitution today, as a suitable occasion for it, and thus
satisfy the wishes of my dear people. But, with deep regret, I say
that I have met with obstacles that prevent it. Return to your homes
peaceably and quietly, and continue to look toward me, and I will
look toward you. Keep me ever in your love. I am obliged to postpone
the granting of the Constitution for a few days. I must confer with
my Cabinet, and when after you return home you may see it, receive
it graciously. You have my love, and with sorrow I now dismiss you."
White replied, thanking the Queen, and assuring her of the love of the
people, and that they would wait patiently until their desires should be
fulfilled, to which the Queen responded with thanks and left the Throne
Kaunamano then began in a loud voice an inflammatory harangue which was
suppressed. He demanded the lives of the members of the Cabinet who had
opposed the wishes of Her Majesty, and declared that he thirsted for
A few moments later the
Queen went out upon the upper balcony of the Palace and addressed the
crowd, who were almost exclusively natives. She told them that on
account of the perfidy of her Ministers she was unable to give them the
Constitution which she had promised them, but that she would take the
earliest opportunity of procuring it for them. The crowd then gave three
The newspaper Ka Leo o
ka Lahui, issued on the morning of the 16th, gave the text of this
latter speech, of which the following is a literal translation:
"O ye people who
love the chief, I hereby say to you that I am now ready to proclaim
the new Constitution for my Kingdom, thinking that it would be
successful; but behold, obstacles have arisen. Therefore, I say unto
you, loving people, go with good hope, and do not be disturbed or
troubled in your minds, because within the next few days now coming
I will proclaim the new Constitution.
officers of the law (the Cabinet), knew the errors in the new
Constitution, but they said nothing. Therefore I hope that the thing
which you, my people, so much desire, will be accomplished ; it is
also my strong desire."
then proceeded to the front steps of the Palace and began an address. He
told the crowd that the Cabinet had betrayed them, and that instead of
going home peaceably, they should go into the Palace and kill and bury
them. Attempts were made to stop him which he resisted, saying he would
never close his mouth until the new Constitution was granted. Finally he
yielded to the expostulations of Col. Jas. H. Boyd and others, threw up
his hands and said that he was "pau," done for the present. After this
the audience dispersed and the Hui Kalaiaina filed out, appearing very
much dejected. A few minutes later Messrs. Parker and Cornwell came over
to the Government building together, looking as though they had passed
through a very severe ordeal. As they entered the building they were
complimented by several persons for the stand which they had made.
Mr. Thurston, who stood
by, however, said, "Must we continue to live in this way. with this
peril hanging over our heads, uncertain whether we may not wake up any
morning and find our liberties gone."Meanwhile a luau, or banquet had
been prepared in the basement of the Palace, to which the Queen and
about forty guests sat down.
The Main Features Of
The Queen's Constitution
In a letter to Mr. S.
M. Damon, dated January 31, 1893, the Queen declared that the original of her new
Constitution and all the copies thereof had been destroyed. In
Commissioner Blount's report (pp. 581-590), however, appears a document,
certified to by Messrs. Parker, Peterson and Corn well, of her last
Cabinet, as substantially identical with the one she presented to them
on the 14th of
January, 1893. Its correctness is confirmed by a draft now in the hands
of the Government, partly written by J. Nawahi, and endorsed on the
outside in the Queen's handwriting. According to this document, the
principal changes made in it from the Constitution of 1887, are the
ARTICLE 42. "The
Cabinet shall hold during the Queen's pleasure, or until removed by a
vote of want of confidence passed by a majority of all the members of
the Legislative assembly." This would restore to the Sovereign entire
control of the Cabinet, as prior to 1887, except during sessions of the
Legislature. The word " elective" before " members of the Legislative
Assembly" is left out because the Nobles were to be appointive. The two
vital changes in this Article are both ignored by Mr. Blount.
ARTICLE 56. "The Queen
appoints the Nobles, who shall hold their appointments during life,"
instead of being elected by property-holders. This would give the
Sovereign power to appoint one half of the Legislature, and to control
that branch of the Government as before 1887.
ARTICLE 62. "Only male
subjects shall vote." This would disfranchise the whole body of American
and European residents, who had not become naturalized, and would give
the native population entire control over the election of
ARTICLE 65. The term of
appointment of the Justices of the Supreme Court was made six years
instead of for life, and the provision that their "compensation shall
not be diminished during their continuance in office," was stricken out.
Thus the independence of the Supreme Court, which had survived all
previous changes of Government, was to be destroyed.
ARTICLE 78 of the
Constitution of 1887, which declared that "Wherever by this Constitution
any act is to be done or performed by the King or the Sovereign, it
shall, unless otherwise expressed, mean that such act shall be done and
performed by the Sovereign by and with the advice and consent of the
Cabinet," was stricken out, showing that the Queen intended thenceforth
to govern as well as to reign. In fact, by this Constitution all power,
practically unchecked, was to be given to the Crown executive,
legislative and judicial. Thus the Government was to be transformed from
a Constitutional to an absolute Monarchy by the arbitrary fiat of the
The Organization Of The Committee Of Public Safety
The informal concourse
of citizens gathered at Mr. W. O. Smith's office awaited the result of
the Cabinet's second meeting with the Queen. About 4:30 p. M. Messrs.
Peterson and Colburn worked their way in with difficulty through the
dense crowd. Mr. Colburn told the whole story of their struggle to
prevent the Queen from proclaiming the new constitution that afternoon,
and asked for the continued support of the community against her,
because, he said, "She may do this at any time." Other speeches, brief
and resolute, were made, and the meeting organized itself, Mr. H. E.
Cooper being chosen chairman and W. O. Smith secretary.
The feeling of
uncertainty and alarm was intense. No one could tell what would happen
next, when the new constitution would be proclaimed, or whether martial
law might not be declared at any moment, and the leading citizens be
arrested before they could organize resistance. The meeting then
proceeded to appoint a Committee of Public Safety of thirteen members,
after which the assembly dispersed.
The Committee of Safety
immediately held its first meeting with closed doors. ''Gentlemen," said
one, "we are brought face to face with this question; what shall we do?"
During the discussion which followed, all were convinced that the
Queen's act was revolutionary, that there existed a virtual interregnum,
or absence of lawful government, and that in view of her utter disregard
of the constitution and laws, it had become necessary for the
intelligent part of the community to organize in defense of their rights
and for the security of life and property. A sub-committee was at once
appointed to ascertain what amount of arms and ammunition was available,
and to re-organize as soon as possible the four volunteer rifle
companies which had been disbanded in 1890.
In view of the
imminence of the danger, and the absence of preparation for this sudden
crisis, the questions were raised whether protection should be sought
from the Government of the United States,
and what the attitude of its representatives would be. Accordingly
another sub-committee of three, consisting of Messrs. L. A. Thurston, W.
C. Wilder, and H. F. Glade, was appointed to wait upon the U. S.
Minister, to ascertain from him what assistance, if any, could be
expected from the U. S. cruiser Boston, and to report to the full
Committee the next morning. It was then moved by Mr. L. A. Thurston
"That preliminary steps be taken at once to form and declare a
Provisional Government with a view to Annexation to the United States."
The seriousness of such a step was fully admitted by all but it was the
unanimous opinion that some such action was necessary, and the Committee
adjourned about 6 P. M., to meet the following (Sunday) morning at the
residence of Mr. W. R. Castle.
The Interview Between The Sub-Committee And Minister Stevens
The above mentioned
sub-committee called upon Mr. Stevens, the U. S. Minister, about 7
o'clock the same evening and, having explained the situation to him,
inquired what the attitude of the U. S. forces would be. His reply was
that "the United States
troops on board of the Boston would be ready to land at any moment to
prevent the destruction of life or property of American citizens, and
that as to the matter of establishing a Provisional Government, he, of
course, would recognize the existing government, whatever it might be."
Mr. Thurston informed
Mr. Stevens that the proposition of establishing a Provisional
Government was under consideration, and in case it should be carried
out, he asked Mr. Stevens what his attitude would be. Mr. Stevens
replied that whatever government was established and actually in
possession of the city, and that was a de facto government, proclaiming
itself as a government, would necessarily have to be recognized.
The Conference Held Saturday Evening
A number of leading
citizens met at Mr. Thurston's house at 8 P. M. to discuss the situation
and to make some plans for a Provisional Government, in case "the
extreme measure of dethroning the Queen should finally be deemed
necessary." Among others, Messrs. W. R. Castle, A. S. Hartwell, S. B.
Dole, C. L. Carter, W. O. Smith, and F. W. Wundenberg were present.
Mr. Thurston reported
the result of his interview with Minister Stevens. Under strong
excitement it was arranged that different persons present should
commence drafting papers. Mr. Castle undertook to draft a preliminary
historical statement which would serve as a preamble. Mr. Thurston was
to work upon the subject of the form of a Provisional Government.
Messrs. Hartwell and Dole were not yet prepared to take part in the
movement. During the evening Mr. Wundenberg reported that he had not
been able to find arms for more than sixty men. Soon after this a German
organization, numbering about eighty, nick-named the "Drei Hundert,"
offered their services and their arms to the Committee. The meeting
continued until a late hour.
Sunday, January 15,
1893 – The Offer Made To
Colburn And Peterson
The Marshal was fully
informed of what was going on, Sunday was a day of preparation on both
sides. Kurly but contented himself with closing the saloons at 9 P. M.,
on Sunday morning (6:30 A. M.), Mr. Thurston called upon and putting on
an extra police force during the night. Messrs. Colburn and Peterson
with a proposition from the Committee of Safety that the Cabinet should
take the lead of the movement to depose the Queen and establish a
Provisional Government/ He also renewed the proposal that the Cabinet
should sign a request to Minister Stevens to have troops landed from the
Boston in order to assist them in maintaining order. At their
request he gave the names of the members of the Committee of Safety.
They asked for twenty-four hours in which to consider the matter, to
which Mr. Thurston replied that the Committee of Safety would not wait,
but would proceed independently to carry out their programme if the
Cabinet did not take the lead.
After his departure
they sent for Messrs. Parker and Cornwell and consulted with them. Later
in the day, Marshal Wilson being alarmed by the reports brought in by
his detectives from all quarters, requested the Cabinet to meet him at
the Station House. After he had been informed of Mr. Thurston's
interview with Colburn and Peterson, he proposed to swear out warrants
forthwith for the arrest of the Committee of Safety. To this Mr.
Peterson objected, stating that their arrest might lead to a collision
with the United States troops, who, he said, would be landed in any
case. Marshal Wilson,
however, appears to have been quite willing to test the question as to
whether they would interfere or not. It was then agreed that they should
ascertain from Minister Stevens himself whether he would -assist the
Committee of Safety with the forces on the Boston, and also seek advice
from certain influential residents who were friendly to the Queen. The
same forenoon (Sunday), the Queen held a meeting at the Palace, and
charged the native pastors present to pray for her, as evil-minded
foreigners were endeavoring to deprive her of her throne. It is evident
also that during the day she became reconciled with her Ministers, at
least for the time.
The Second Meeting Of The Committee Of Safety
The Committee of
Thirteen met at W. R. Castle's residence at 9 A. M. and remained in
session until noon. After receiving reports from their committees, they decided
to call a mass meeting of citizens to meet at 2 p. M. of the next day
(Monday), at the old armory on Beretania street, in
order to ascertain the real sentiments of the community. It was decided
to make a report at that time, and then to ask the meeting to confirm
the appointment of the Committee of Safety, and to give it full
authority to take whatever steps might be necessary to secure the rights
of the people from further aggression. If public opinion, as manifested
at the mass meeting, should demand the abrogation of the Monarchy, it
would be necessary that the Committee should be fully prepared to carry
out such demand. The work of organization and preparation was therefore
The general form
which the Provisional Government should take was reported on by Mr.
Thurston. A committee was appointed to prepare papers and secure
speakers for the mass meeting, and the call for it was printed and
posted that same (Sunday) afternoon.
" A mass meeting of
citizens will be held at the Beretania street armory on Monday, January
16, at 2 p. M., to consider the present critical situation. Let all
business places be closed.
PER ORDER OF COMMITTEE
OF SAFETY. Honolulu, January 15, 1893."
After the meeting
adjourned, about 1 P. M., Messrs. Thurston and Smith called again upon
the American Minister and informed him of what was going on. While Mr.
Stevens gave them assurance of his purpose to protect life and property,
he emphasized the fact that he could not recognize any government until
actually established. /He repeated the statement that the United States
troops, if landed, would not take sides with either party, but would
protect the property and lives of American citizens.
Proceedings Of The Queen's Party Sunday Afternoon
About 1:30 P. M. of
that Sunday, the Cabinet held a consultation in the Foreign Office with
several gentlemen of conservative character, viz.: Messrs. F. A.
Schaefer, J. O. Carter, S. M. Damon, W. M. Giffard, S. C. Allen and E.
C. Macfarlane, who had come at their request. Mr. Peterson informed them
of the proposition made to himself and Colburn that morning by Mr.
Thurston. He asked whether it would be expedient for the Cabinet to
apply to the U. S. Minister for assistance in maintaining the authority
of the Queen's government. They inquired whether the Government was able
to suppress any uprising, to which he replied that the Government had
ample force to meet any emergency that might arise. If so, Mr. Carter
advised the Cabinet by no means to request the landing of the United
States troops. A remark by Mr. Damon gave rise to a discussion as to the
possibility of their landing without such a request. The question was
then asked whether the Queen had abandoned the idea of proclaiming a new
Constitution, to which Mr. Parker replied in the affirmative. All were
agreed that in that case the Queen and Cabinet should unite in issuing a
proclamation giving the public satisfactory assurance on that point. In
fact, Mr. Carter had already drafted a declaration to that effect.
Notice was afterward
sent to Messrs. Thurston and Smith that the Cabinet would 'like to meet
a committee of five from' the Committee of Safety the next morning.
The same evening, about
7:30 o'clock, Messrs. Parker and Peterson called upon Minister Stevens,
to ascertain from him "what stand he would take in behalf of his
Government, in the event of an armed insurrection against the Queen's
There is a conflict of
testimony in regard to what passed, and nothing was put in writing at
the time. It seems to be certain, however, that Mr. Stevens declined to
promise assistance to the Queen in such an event. On the subject of
landing troops, he appears to have uniformly maintained a diplomatic
Later on, about 8:30 P. M., the Cabinet met again at the Attorney-General's
office, Messrs. C. B. Wilson, Paul Neumann, E. C. Macfarlane, R. W.
Wilcox, C. T. Gulick, Dr. Trousseau, A. Rosa, and others being present.
Mr. Peterson related his interview with the U. S. Minister, and the
subject of the landing of United States
troops was again discussed.
Marshal Wilson made a
report on the available forces at the command of the Government, and
proposed that martial law be proclaimed, and that the Committee of
Safety be arrested at once, but Messrs. Neumann and Peterson both
opposed such action on the ground that it might precipitate a conflict,
which they should at all hazards avoid. It was then decided to call a
counter mass meeting of loyal Hawaiians at Palace Square, to take place at the same time as the other, and a
committee was appointed to draw up resolutions and prepare a programme
for the occasion.
The same evening part
of the Committee of Safety met at Mr. Thurston's house, where their work
was further arranged, and the different parts of it were assigned.
Monday, January 16, 1893 – The Queen's Retraction
On Monday morning about
half-past eight, Mr. Parker took the declaration (which had been
originally drafted by Mr. J. O. Carter), to the Queen and persuaded her
to sign it, but not without omissions and changes which greatly impaired
its effect. It was then signed by her Ministers and printed and
circulated through the city about 11 A. M. It was as follows:
Ministers desire to express their appreciation for the quiet and
order which has prevailed in this community since the events of
Saturday, and are authorized to say that the position is taken by
Her Majesty in regard to the promulgation of a new Constitution, was
under the stress of Her native subjects.
Authority is given
for the assurance that any changes desired in the fundamental law of
the land will be sought only by methods provided in the Constitution
Ministers request all citizens to accept the assurance of Her
Majesty in the same spirit in which it is given.
SAMUEL PARKER, Minister of Foreign Affairs
W. H. CORNWELL, Minister of Finance
JOHN F. COLBURN, Minister of the Interior
A. P. PETERSON, Attorney- General
January 16th, 1893
however, came to late to save the Monarchy. It was looked upon by many
as a humiliating evidence of panic upon the part of the Queen's
Her intrigues during
Kalakaua's reign, and her course in regard to the lottery bill, had
already destroyed all confidence in her word, while little reliance was
placed on the integrity or firmness of her Cabinet. She has since then
plainly shown that she never forgave her Ministers for their
disobedience on the 14th of January, 1893, nor ever gave up the hope of
realizing her ideal of government.
The same morning she
sent for S. M. Damon and asked his advice. He recommended that she
should call in the diplomatic representatives of the great powers and
consult with them without delay.
Third Meeting Of The Committee Of Safety
The Committee of Safety
met at 9 o'clock on Monday morning in Mr. Thurston's law office, over
Bishop's bank. Soon afterward Marshal Wilson came into the office and
called Mr. Thurston into an adjoining room for a private interview.
Their conversation was substantially as follows:
Mr. Wilson said he
wished the mass meeting to be stopped. Mr. Thurston replied "It can't be
stopped; it is too late." Mr. Wilson said that the Queen had abandoned
her idea of promulgating a new Constitution, and that a proclamation to
that effect was about to be issued. To this Mr. Thurston replied, "What
guarantee have we that this will not happen again? It is like living on
a volcano; there is no telling when it will break out." Mr. Wilson
replied, ''I will guarantee that she will not attempt it again, even if
I have to lock her up to keep her from doing it." Thurston said,
"Suppose you were to die tonight, what then? We are not willing to
accept that guarantee as sufficient. This thing has gone on from bad to
worse until we are not going to stand it any longer. We mean to take no
chances in the matter, but to settle it now, once for all." Mr. Wilson
expressed his regret that they could not agree on any compromise, and
left the office. He immediately proceeded to enlist volunteers and
special constables, and proposed to the Attorney-General to arrest the
Committee of Safety at once, but was refused permission to do so.
A sub-committee of
five, consisting of Messrs. W. C. Wilder, C. Bolte, F. W. McChesney, J.
A. McCandless and H. Waterhouse, was sent about 10 A. M. to confer with
the Cabinet, at their request, in the Foreign Office. The Ministers
showed them the proclamation signed by themselves and the Queen,
promising that she would not renew her attempt to abrogate the
Constitution, and claimed that this ought to be a final settlement of
the controversy. The committee asked why the Ministry had called a mass
meeting for 2 o'clock at Palace Square, to which Mr. Parker replied, "to
draw the crowd away from your meeting."
They then returned and
reported to the Committee of Safety, which continued in session till
noon, with many interruptions.
The reports brought in
by those who had been canvassing for volunteers, showed that no half-way
measure, such as a Regency, would stand any chance of success. The
general demand was for a Provisional Government, looking toward
annexation to the United States
as its ultimate goal. Although Mr. Thurston was ill, it was decided that
he should open the mass meeting, and that Mr. W. C. Wilder should act as
The Request For The
Landing Of Troops
Many warnings and
threats of house burning and other outrages had been reported to the
committee, and it was decided to request the U. S. Minister to cause
troops to be landed for the protection of life and property. It was
feared by many that during the expected conflict for the possession of
the Government buildings, lawless outrages might be perpetrated in other
quarters of the city.
Accordingly, a request
of the residents to Minister Stevens for the landing of United States
troops which had been drawn up, was signed by the Committee of Safety.
Certain unsuitable passages in it were stricken out, but inadvertently
the last sentence, (which as coming from the Committee of Safety was
inconsistent with the facts), was allowed to remain.
A number of copies of
the same were type-written and taken to the mass meeting to be
circulated there for signatures, which plan, however, was not carried
out. During the mass meeting the copy signed by the Committee was taken
to Minister Stevens. It was as follows :
January 16, 1893
TO HIS EXCELLENCY
JOHN L. STEVENS, AMERICAN MINISTER RESIDENT
Sir : We, the
undersigned, citizens and residents of Honolulu, respectfully
represent that in view of recent public events in this Kingdom,
culminating in the revolutionary acts of Queen Liliuokalani on
Saturday last, the public safety is menaced and lives and properly
are in peril, and we appeal to you and the United States forces at
your command for assistance.
The Queen, with the
aid of armed force, and accompanied by threats of violence and
bloodshed from those with whom she was acting, attempted to proclaim
a new Constitution, and while prevented for the time from
accomplishing her object, declared publicly that she would only
defer her action.
This conduct and
action was upon an occasion and under circumstances which have
created general alarm and terror. We are unable to protect ourselves
without aid, and therefore pray for the protection of the United
F. W. McCHESNEY
W. C. WILDER
W. O. SMITH
THEO. F. LANSING
L. A. THURSTON
W. R. CASTLE
J. A. McCANDLESS
Committee of Safety
The Mass Meeting At
At 2 P. M., Monday,
January 16, the Honolulu Rifles' Armory was the scene of the largest and
most enthusiastic mass meeting ever held in Honolulu. It was called by
the Committee of Public Safety for the purpose of protesting against the
revolutionary aggressions of the Queen. As the time approached all
business was suspended, shops were closed, and but one subject was
talked of. At half-past one citizens began to assemble, and before two
o'clock the large building was crowded to its utmost capacity, 1260
being present by actual count, while many others came later. Every class
in the community was fully represented, mechanics, merchants,
professional men and artisans of every kind being present in full force.
The meeting was intensely enthusiastic, being animated by a common
purpose and feeling, and most of the speakers were applauded to the
echo. Hon. W. C. Wilder, of the Committee of Safety, was the chairman.
Mr. Wilder said: Fellow
citizens, I have been requested to act as chairman of this meeting. Were
it a common occurrence, I should consider it an honor, but today we are
not here to do honor to anybody. I accept the chairmanship of this
meeting as a duty. (Applause) We meet here today as men not as any
party, faction or creed, but as men who are bound to see good
government. It is well known to you all what took place at the Palace
last Saturday. I need not tell you the object of this meeting, and no
such meeting has been held since 1887. There is the same reason now as
then. An impromptu meeting of citizens was called Saturday to take
measures for the public safety. The report of the committee will be read
to you. We do not meet as revolutionists, but as peaceful citizens who
have the right to meet and state their grievances. (Loud applause) We
will maintain our rights, and have the courage to maintain them.
Mr. Thurston being
introduced by the chairman, read the following Report Of The Committee
To the Citizens of
On the morning of last
Saturday, the 14th instant, the city was startled by the information
that Her Majesty Queen Liliuokalani had announced her intention to
arbitrarily promulgate a new Constitution, and that three of the newly
appointed Cabinet Ministers had resigned, or were about to resign, in
Immediately after the
prorogation of the Legislature at noon the Queen, accompanied by her
orders, by the Cabinet, retired to the Palace. The entire military force
of the Government was drawn up in line in front of the building, and
remained there until dark, and a crowd of several hundred native
sympathizers with the new Constitution project gathered in the throne
room and about the Palace. The Queen then retired with the Cabinet. :
informed them that she intended to promulgate it, and proposed to do so
then and there, and demanded that they countersign her signature.
She turned a deaf ear
to their statements and protests that the proposed action would
inevitably cause the streets of Honolulu to run red with blood, and
threatened that unless they complied with her demand, she would herself
immediately go out upon the steps of the Palace and announce to the
assembled crowd that the reason she did not give them the new
Constitution was because the Ministers would not let her. Three of the
Ministers, fearing mob violence, immediately withdrew and returned to
the Government building. They were immediately summoned back to the
Palace but refused to go, on the ground that there was no guarantee of
their personal safety.
The only forces under
the control of the Government are the Household Guards and the police.
The former are nominally under the control of the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, and actually under the control of their immediate commander,
Major Nowlein, a personal adherent of the Queen.
The police are under
the control of Marshal Wilson, the open and avowed royal favorite.
Although the Marshal is nominally under the control of the
Attorney-General. Her Majesty recently announced in a public speech that
she would not allow him to be removed. Although the Marshal now states
that he is opposed to the Queen's proposition, he also states that if
the final issue arises between the Queen and the Cabinet and people, he
will support the Queen.
The Cabinet was
absolutely powerless and appealed to citizens for support.
Later they reluctantly
returned to the Palace, by request of the Queen, and for nearly two
hours she again endeavored to force them to acquiesce in her desire, and
upon their final refusal, announced in a public speech in the throne
room, and again from the upper gallery of the Palace, that she desired
to issue the Constitution but was prevented from doing so by her
Ministers, and would issue it in a few days.
The citizens responded
to the appeal of the Cabinet to resist the revolutionary attempt of the
Queen, by gathering at the office of William O. Smith.
Later in the afternoon
it was felt that bloodshed and riot were imminent; that the community
could expect no protection from the legal authorities; that, on the
contrary, they would undoubtedly be made the instruments of royal
aggression. An impromptu meeting of citizens was held, which was
attended by the Attorney-General, and which was addressed, among others,
by the Minister of the Interior, J. F. Colburn, who stated to the
meeting substantially the foregoing facts.
The meeting unanimously
passed a resolution that the public welfare required the appointment of
a Committee of Public Safety, of thirteen, to consider the situation and
devise ways and means for the maintenance of the public peace and the
protection of life and property. Such a committee was forthwith
appointed and has followed its instructions.
The first step which
the committee consider necessary is to secure openly, publicly and
peaceably, through the medium of a mass meeting of citizens, a
condemnation of the proceedings of the party of revolution and disorder,
and a confirmation from such larger meeting of the authority now vested
in the committee.
For such purpose the
committee hereby recommends the adoption of the following:
1. WHEREAS Her
Majesty Liliuokalani, acting in conjunction with certain other
persons, has illegally and unconstitutionally, and against the
advice and consent of the lawful executive officers of the
Government, attempted to abrogate the existing Constitution and
proclaim a new one in subversion of the rights of the people;
2. AND WHEREAS such
attempt has been accompanied by threats of violence and bloodshed
and a display of armed force; and such attempt and acts and threats
are revolutionary and treasonable in character;
3. AND WHEREAS Her
Majesty's Cabinet have informed her that such contemplated action
was unlawful and would lead to bloodshed and riot, and have implored
and demanded of her to desist from and renounce such proposed
4. AND WHEREAS such
advice has been in vain, and Her Majesty has in a public speech
announced that she was desirous and ready to promulgate such
Constitution, the same being now ready for such purpose, and that
the only reason why it was not now promulgated was because she had
met with unexpected obstacles and that a fitting opportunity in the
future must be awaited for the consummation of such object, which
would be within a few days;
5. AND WHEREAS at a
public meeting of citizens held in Honolulu
on the 14th day of January, instant, a Committee of Thirteen, to be
known as the "COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC SAFETY," was appointed to consider
the situation and to devise ways and means for the maintenance of
the public peace and safety and the preservation of life and
6. AND WHEREAS such
Committee has recommended the calling of this mass meeting of
citizens to protest against and condemn such action and has this day
presented a report to this meeting denouncing the action of the
Queen and her supporters as being unlawful, unwarranted ; in
derogation of the rights of the people ; endangering the peace of
the community, and tending to excite riot, and cause the loss of
life and destruction of property; Now, THEREFORE, WE, the Citizens
of Honolulu of all nationalities and regardless of political party
affiliations, do hereby condemn and denounce the action of the Queen
and her supporters;
AND WE DO HEREBY ratify the appointment and endorse the action
taken and report made by the said Committee of Safety and we do
hereby further empower such committee to further consider the
situation and further devise such ways and means as may be necessary
to secure the permanent maintenance of law and order and the
protection of life, liberty and property in Hawaii.
Mr. Thurston said in
substance: Mr. Chairman: Hawaii is a wonderful country. We are divided
into parties and nationalities and factions, but there are moments when
we are united and move shoulder to shoulder, moved by one common desire
for the public good. Three times during the past twelve years this has
happened in 1880, 1887 and to-day. They say it is ended, it is done,
there is nothing to consider. Is it so? (Calls of No! No!) I say
gentlemen, that now and here is the time to act. (Loud cheers) The Queen
says she won't do it again. (Cries of humbug!) Fellow citizens, have you
any memories? Hasn't she once before promised sworn solemnly before
Almighty God to maintain this Constitution? What is her word worth?
(Calls of Nothing! Nothing!) It is an old saying that a royal promise is
made to be broken. Fellow citizens, remember it. We have not sought this
situation. Last Saturday the sun rose on a peaceful and smiling city;
to-day it is otherwise. Whose fault is it? Queen Liliuokalani's. It is
not her fault that the streets have not run red with blood. She has
printed a proclamation expressing her repentance for what she has done
and at the same time perhaps sent out by the same carriers her organ
prints an extra with her speech with bitterer language than that quoted
in the Advertiser. She wants us to sleep on a slumbering volcano, which
will some morning spew out fire and destroy us all. The Constitution
gives us the right to assemble peacefully and express our grievances. We
are here doing that to-day without arms. The man who has not the. spirit
to rise after the menace to our liberties has no right to keep them. Has
the tropic sun thinned our blood, or have we flowing in our veins the
warm, rich blood which makes men love liberty and die for it ? I move
the adoption of the resolution. (Tumultuous applause.)
Mr. H. F. Glade: The
Queen has done an unlawful thing in ignoring the constitution which she
had sworn to uphold. We most decidedly protest against such
revolutionary proceedings, and we should do all we possibly can to
prevent her from repeating actions which result in disorder and riot. We
now have a promise from the Queen that such proceedings as we
experienced on Saturday shall not occur again. But we should have such
assurances and guarantees for this promise as will really satisfy us and
convince us of the faith and earnestness of the promise given, of which
we now have no assurance. What such guarantees and assurances ought to
be I cannot at this moment say or recommend. This should be referred to
the Committee of Safety for their careful consideration. I second the
Mr. A. Young, in
addressing the meeting, spoke as follows: Mr. Chairman and fellow
citizens In June, 1887, I stood on this same platform and addressed an
audience almost as large as the one now before me. At that time we had
met to consider a resolution that looked toward a new constitution,
which proposed constitution was considered the most effectual method of
removing some flagrant abuses in governmental affairs practiced by the
King and his Cabinets prior 'to the time that the constitution was
To-day we have met to
consider the action of Her Majesty in attempting to set aside the
constitution we all worked so hard to have promulgated, in the' best
interests of the sovereign and the people at large, as well as for the
redemption of the credit of the kingdom abroad. It has long been
reported that at some favorable opportunity the Queen would spring a new
constitution upon the people and place matters even more in the hands of
the sovereign than they were before the revolution of 1887. Some did not
believe the rumors, but the actions of the Queen in the last few days
have convinced the most skeptical that the rumors were well founded, and
that she had been pregnant with this unborn constitution for a long
time, but it could not be born till under the propitious star. The
Queen's kahunas, together with her would-be advisers had no doubt told
her that the auspicious time for the advent had arrived. In trying to
promulgate this long-promised constitution, the Queen has therefore
premeditatedly committed a breach of faith with one portion of her
subjects, in order to satisfy the clamors of a faction of natives urged
by the influence of a mischievous element of foreigners who mean no good
to the Queen or the people, but simply for the purpose of providing
avenues for carrying out more perfectly the smuggling of opium and
diverting the contents of the treasury into their own pockets.
A "By Authority"
circular has now been handed around setting forth that the Queen and her
Cabinet had decided not to press the promulgation of a new Constitution,
but can we depend on this promise of Her Majesty? Is this promise any
more binding upon her than the oath she took before the Almighty God to
support and maintain the present Constitution? Has not the Queen
resorted to very questionable methods in an underhanded way to remove
what, to the people, was one of the most acceptable Cabinets ever
commissioned by any sovereign in this Kingdom, in order that four other
Ministers might be appointed that would carry out her behest,
treasonable, or otherwise, as might be most conveniently within their
scope. I say, have we any reasonable assurance that the Queen and her
Ministers have abandoned finally the new Constitution promulgation
scheme? (Roars of No! from the audience) My fellow citizens, while the
Queen and her Cabinet continue to trifle with and play fast and loose
with the affairs of State, there can be no feeling of security for
foreign families residing within these domains. There can be no business
prosperity here at home, and our credit abroad must be of the flimsiest
and most uncertain nature. And you business men who are toiling honestly
for your bread and butter will have to put up with thin bread and much
thinner butter if this farcical work is continued. In order that matters
may be set to rights again and that honest, stable and honorable
government may be maintained in Hawaii, I support the resolution and
trust that it will be passed unanimously by this meeting.
C. Bolte spoke in a similar strain, and was followed by Hon. H. P.
Baldwin: I feel with the rest of you, that the actions of the Queen have
put the country in a very critical situation. Before this revolutionary
act of Her Majesty, we were getting along. A Ministry had been appointed
which would probably have been able to pull us through. The McKinley
bill had put the whole country into a critical situation. We were
working up new industries. Mr. Dillingham is trying to build a railroad
around this island. The Queen seems to have blinded herself to all these
things. She has followed a whim of her own a whim of an irresponsible
body of Hawaiians and tried to establish a new Constitution. We must
stop this; but we must not go beyond Constitutional means. I favor the
resolution, but think the committee should act within the Constitution.
There is no question that the Queen has done a revolutionary act there
is no doubt about that. The Queen's proclamation has not inspired
confidence; but shall we not teach her to act within the Constitution?
(Loud calls of "No!") Well, gentlemen, I see that you do not agree with
me, but I am ready to act when the time comes.
J. Emmeluth wished to
say a few words on the situation. He had heard the Queen's speech at the
palace, and noted the expression of her face. It was fiendish. When the
petitioners filed out he reflected on the fact that thirty men could
paralyze the business of the community for twenty-four hours. It was not
they that did it, but the schemers behind them, and perhaps a woman too.
It was not the Hawaiians that wanted the new Constitution; not those who
worked. This was the third time that he had shut his doors, let his men
go, and come up to this building.
It would be the last
time. If we let this time go by we should deserve all we should get. An
opportunity came once in every lifetime. It had come to us, and if we
finished as we should, a repetition of last Saturday would never occur
in this country again. (Applause) We must stand shoulder to shoulder.
There vvas but one course to pursue, and we should all see it. The
manifesto of this morning was bosh. "I won't do it any more; but give me
a chance and I'll do it again." This is the real meaning of it. If the
Queen had succeeded last Saturday, myself and you would have been robbed
of the privileges without which no white man can live in this community.
"Fear not, be not afraid," was written in my Bible by my mother
twenty-five years ago. Gentlemen, I have done. As far as the Hawaiians
are concerned, I have an aloha for them, and we wish to have laws
enabling us to live peaceably together.
R. J. Greene spoke
earnestly in like tone. The Chairman then read the resolution. It was
passed by a unanimous standing vote, without a dissenting voice, amid
tremendous cheers, after which the meeting broke up.
The Mass Meeting at Palace Square
The so-called "law and
order meeting" of natives at Palace Square, which had been called by the
Ministry for 2 P. M., has been variously estimated all the way from 500
to 3000. The writer estimated it at the time to be about half as large
as the meeting at the Armory. It was a tame and dispirited meeting, the
speakers being under strict orders to express themselves with great
caution and moderation. Addresses were made by Messrs. A Rosa, J. E.
Bush, J. Nawahi, W. White and R. W. Wilcox, who cautioned the natives
against any violence or disorder, and supported the following
resolutions which were adopted:
"Resolved, That the
assurance of Her Majesty, the Queen, contained in this day's
proclamation is accepted by the people as a satisfactory guarantee
that the Government does not and will not seek any modification of
the Constitution by any other means than those provided in the
organic law : Resolved, That accepting this assurance, the citizens
here assembled will give their cordial support to the administration
and endorse them in sustaining that policy."
Thus a meeting chiefly
composed of the advocates of a new constitution, the leaders of which
had conspired with the Queen to secure such constitution, voted an
expression of thanks to her for renouncing her attempt to establish it.
The tone of this
meeting was constrained and unnatural, the only genuine enthusiasm being
called out by expressions of sympathy with the attempted Coup d'etat of
Saturday, the 14th.
Landing of the U.S.
Immediately after the
adjournment of the mass meeting Honolulu, the Committee of
Safety met again at W. O. Smith's office.
All the members felt
that their course had been fully endorsed, and that they would have the
support of nearly the whole white population in proceeding to establish
a provisional government. Their plans, however, were incomplete, and the
new government not yet organized. Fearing that the landing of the U. S.
troops would precipitate a conflict, before their own forces were ready,
they sent Messrs. Thurston and Smith to the U. S. Legation to request
Mr. Stevens to postpone it. This request certainly implied that they
expected to fight their own battles.
He replied that "as a
precautionary measure, and to protect the lives and property of American
citizens, he had requested that the troops be landed at 5 o'clock and
that they would land." After receiving their report the Committee
adjourned. Marshal Wilson expected a speedy attack from the forces of
the Committee of Safety, and put the Station house in a state of
In view of the
indications of approaching trouble, Minister Stevens had gone on board
the Boston about 3 P. M. arid handed to Capt. Wiltse the following
LEGATION, HONOLULU, January 16th, 1893
To CAPTAIN G. C.
WILTSE, Commander of the U. S.
In view of the existing critical circumstances in Honolulu, indicating an
inadequate force, I request you to land marines
and sailors from the ship under your command for the protection
of the United States Legation and United States Consulate, and to
secure the safety of American life and property."
L. STEVENS, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of
the United States
Capt. G. C. Wiltse
His Ex. J. L. Stevens
Stevens, however, found that Capt. Wiltse had anticipated his request,
having his force already prepared for landing, and having written the
following order, which was based upon the standing rules of the Navy and
Secretary Bayard's instructions to Mr. Merrill in 1887, and which went
further than Mr. Stevens' request by directing the force "to assist in
preserving public order."
"U. S. BOSTON, SECOND RATE
HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, Jan. 16th, 1893
COMMANDER W. T. SWINBURNE, U. S. Navy, Executive Officer of U. S. S.
"SIR: You will take
command of the battalion, and land in Honolulu, for the purpose of
protecting our legation, consulate and the lives and property of
American citizens, and to assist in preserving public order.
must be exercised by both officers and men and no action taken that
is not fully warranted by the condition of affairs, and by the
conduct of those who may be inimical to the treaty rights of
''You will inform
me at the earliest practicable moment of any change in the
G. C. WILTSE,
Captain U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Boston
He also learned that
previous to the two mass meetings the U. S. Consul-General, Mr. H. W.
Severance, had sent Capt. Wiltse a note, warning him that there was
danger of an outbreak on shore, and offering to inform him, if
necessary, either by telephone, or if the wires should be cut, by
setting his flag at half-mast.
Upon learning that the
troops were not supplied with tents, Mr. Stevens undertook to secure
some building for their accommodation, and left the ship about 4 p. M.
At 5 P. M., Lieut. W. T. Swinburne landed at Brewer's wharf with a force
of 162 officers and men, having one Gatling gun and one 37 millimeter
revolving gun, and 80 rounds of ammunition to each man. Half of the
marines were left at the U. S. Consulate, under the command of Lieut.
Draper, and the remainder sent to the U. S. Legation on Nuuanu Avenue.
Then the main body, comprising three companies of blue jackets, marched
up King street past the Palace where the royal salute was given, and
after a long halt between Likelike and Punchbowl streets bivouacked in
Mr. Atherton's grounds, awaiting further orders.
Meanwhile Mr. Stevens
sent a note to Mr. Giffard of the firm of Irwin & Co., asking for the
temporary use of the Opera House, which was refused. On further inquiry
he was told of the building in the rear of the Opera House, called Arion
Hall, which he finally secured after applying for it, first to Mr. J. S.
Walker, and then to Mr. Waller, the lessee. These circumstances go to
show that the selection of this building was not premeditated, although
it was unfortunate.
The troops marched down
after 9 P. M. and took up their quarters there for, the night. The
knowledge of the fact that the U. S. troops were on shore undoubtedly
served to repress disorder and gave the community a grateful sense of
security. There was a band concert at the Hawaiian Hotel that evening
which was well attended. During the night, however, two incendiary fires
were started, one at Emma Square and the other on the plains, which were
Protests Against The
Immediately after the landing of the U. S. troops,
Parker and Gov. Cleghorn called on Mr. Stevens and
asked him why they had landed. He replied that the circumstances
were such that he had felt compelled to take the
responsibility. They afterwards sent him formal protests in writing, to
which he replied that "In whatever the United States diplomatic and
naval representatives have done or may do, at this critical hour of
Hawaiian Affairs, we will be guided by the kindest views and feelings
for all the parties concerned, and by the warmest sentiments for the
Hawaiian people and persons of all nationalities."
There is a diplomatic
ambiguity in this language which was not reassuring.
It appears from the
statement by Dr. Trousseau, that the representatives of Great Britain,
France and Portugal also made an informal call on Mr. Stevens early in
the evening, to inquire of him why the troops had been landed. He is
said to have replied in substance that great -alarm was felt by many of
the residents, and that his object was to preserve law and order. No
protest was filed by them.
During the night
Marshal Wilson urged the Attorney-General to have martial law proclaimed
the next morning, and showed him a proclamation to that effect, ready
He also proposed to
place an armed force in the Government building, but Mr. Peterson raised
objections to both prosposals, and nothing was done.
Meeting Op The
Committee Of Safety Monday Evening
The Committee of Safety
met again at 8 P. M. at the resistances were such that he had felt
compelled to take the derice of Mr. Henry Waterhouse. Three of the
leading members were prevented by illness from attending, viz.: Messrs.
W. R. Castle, L. A. Thurston and W. C. Wilder.
Besides the Committee
several well known citizens, viz.: Messrs. Alexander Young, J. H. Soper,
Cecil Brown, H. P. Baldwin and F. W. Wundenburg were present. Judge Dole
was chosen as President and Mr. C. Bolte was appointed to wait upon him
and invite his attendance at the meeting.
He came with
reluctance, and at first declined the offer, stating that he was not yet
convinced that the time had come for so radical a step as the abrogation
He admitted that the
manifest destiny of the islands was annexation to the United States,
arid that the Queen had forfeited the throne, but was not sure that a
Regency, in the name of Kaiulani might not be the best solution of the
At length he consented
to take the matter under advisement, and to give his final answer at l0
o'clock next morning.
A committee was
appointed to make a list of names of suitable persons who would be
willing to serve in an Executive Council of five and an Advisory Council
of eight members. Mr. Soper was requested to take command of the
military forces, to which he consented conditionally. The assertion that
a committee was sent from this meeting to confer with Mr. Stevens has
been fully proved to be false. Mr. Cecil Brown declined to serve in the
Executive Council, but afterwards joined the Advisory Council. A
committee of three was appointed to procure additional arms and
ammunition, and the meeting adjourned near midnight.
Tuesday, January 17th,
1893, will ever be a memorable day in the history of the Hawaiian Islands.
Mr. Damon's interview
with the queen
About 9 A. M. Mr. S. M.
Damon called on the Queen and informed her that he had decided to join
the party which had for its object the abrogation of monarchy and
annexation to the United States.
He advised her not to resist what was inevitable, but to submit, as
resistance would only cause useless bloodshed. According to her own
statement she asked him to accept an appointment to the Advisory
Council, thinking that in that position he might be of service to her,
from which it may fairly be inferred that she had already decided to
Last Meeting Of The Committee Of Safety
The Committee of Safety
met at 10 A. M. in Mr. W. O. Smith's office. It was voted that the
number of members of the Advisory Council be increased from eight to
thirteen, and the list of members decided upon. Meanwhile Mr. L. A.
Thurston dictated the proclamation of the provisional government from a
sick bed. Hon. S. B. Dole, having sent his resignation as Associate
Justice of the Supreme Court to Mr. S. Parker, the then premier, came
before the Committee of Safety about 11 A. M., and announced that he
would accept the position offered him, of president of the Executive
Council. Reflection had convinced him that no half-way measure like a
Regency would be practicable or satisfactory. Mr. S. M. Damon also came
in for the first time. It was decided to charter the steamer Claudine
for a trip to San Francisco. The Committee then took a recess until
1:30 P. M.
S. B. Dole
President of The Republic of Hawaii
Proceedings Of The Queen's Party
Marshal Wilson, in his
written statement, says, that before 11 A.M. he was informed that the
Committee of Safety "would move on the Government house at 3 P. M., and
on the Police Station at 4 P. M., and that they would rendezvous at the
Armory on Beretania street." He says that he sent for the Cabinet, "but
there were no signs of the Cabinet," till 2 p. M. If they had garrisoned
and held the Government building, as the then legal government, the
proximity of the United States troops would have merely served to
strengthen their position against any attack by the revolutionists. It
seems that Mr. C. J. McCarthy, (clerk of the legislature of 1892), had
been placed by Mr. Wilson in charge of the building, but waited there in
vain for a force that never came. Several thousand cartridges were
afterwards found in the Foreign Office, probably intended for its
defense. Mr. Wilson notified Capt. Nowlein to station part of his men in
the basement of the palace, and massed his regular police and specials
at the Station house. He is said to have sent the Queen a message at 11
A.M. and again at 1 P. M., by no means to yield.
As near as can be
ascertained, the Queen had 65 soldiers at the barracks, and 110 regular
police, besides a considerable number of volunteers, of whom no register
can be found. They had abundance of rifles, one Gatling gun and a
battery of eight field pieces, but they lacked skill to use them as well
as confidence in their cause, and above all, competent leaders.
To judge from their
conduct, the Queen's Cabinet were overawed by the unanimity and
determination of the foreign community, and probably had an exaggerated
idea of the force at the command of the Committee of Safety. They shrank
from the responsibility of causing fruitless bloodshed, and sought a
valid excuse for inaction, which they thought they found in the presence
of the United States troops on shore, and in the well known sympathy of
the American Minister with the opposition.
At a meeting of the
Cabinet held in the forenoon, it was decided to call a conference of the
diplomatic corps at 1 P. M. which was done. Mr. Stevens declined to
attend, but the representatives of Great Britain, France, Portugal and
Japan met with the Cabinet in the Foreign Office. According to Mr.
Parker, they advised the Cabinet "to make no resistance" to the coming
revolution. About this time the following letter was sent to Minister
A little before 2 p.
M. the whole Cabinet drove out to Mr. Stevens' residence, to ascertain
whether he would afford any assistance to the Queen's government, in
case it should be required. As Mr. Stevens was suffering from a severe
attack of illness, he received only two of them in his private office,
viz., Messrs. Parker and Peterson. The latter went into a legal argument
to prove that they were the legal government, and as such could properly
ask the aid of the United States naval forces to sustain the Queen. Mr.
Stevens replied ''Gentlemen, these men were landed for one purpose only,
a pacific purpose, and we cannot take part in any contest. I cannot use
this force for sustaining the Queen or anybody else." The Cabinet then
hastened to the Station house, where they remained during the rest of
Sir: The assurance
conveyed by a royal proclamation by myself and Ministers yesterday,
having been received by my native subjects and by them ratified at a
mass meeting, was received in a different spirit by the meeting
representing the foreign population and interests in my kingdom. It
is now my desire to give your excellency, as the diplomatic
representative of the United States of America at my court, the
solemn assurance that the present constitution will be upheld by me
and by my ministers, and no changes will be made except by the
method therein provided. I desire to express to your excellency this
assurance in the spirit of that friendship which has ever existed
between my kingdom and that of the Government of the United States
of America, and which I trust will long continue.
PARKER, Minister of Foreign Affairs
CORNWELL, Minister of Finance
COLBURN, Minister of Interior
A. P. PETERSON,
Honolulu, Jan. 17, 1893
Closing Action Of The Committee Of Safety
The Committee of Safety
met again at 2 p. M. At this meeting the Executive Counsel was reduced
in number from five to four members, the offices of President and
Minister of Foreign Affairs being united in one person, while the
Advisory Council was increased to fourteen members. The Committee of
Safety signed the proclamation, and the Executive Council signed the
commission of John H. Soper, as commander of the forces. The papers were
completed by 2:30 P. M., and word was sent for the four volunteer companies
to assemble at the armory and move from there on he Government building.
Judiciary Building (Former Government Building)
Mr. C. L. Carter had
previously gone to the Government Building to see if there was a guard
concealed there but found none. "There were but eight clerks in the
building which ordinarily teemed with the Ministers, Judges and some
forty or fifty officials and clerks." He also visited Arion Hall and
asked Lieut. Swinburne to let him see his orders, to which he consented,
saying, "You see my orders are to protect the Legation, the Consulate,
and the lives and property of American citizens, and to assist in
preserving order; I do not know how to interpret that; I can do it in
but one way. If the Queen calls upon me to preserve order, I am going to
At 2 P. M. the members
of the Executive and Advisory Councils together with Mr. H. E. Cooper,
Chairman of the Committee of Safety, left Mr. W. O. Smith's office, and
proceeded on foot, most of them up Merchant street, and the rest up
Queen street to the Government building. Just as they were starting,
they saw and heard a pistol shot fired one block above, and people
running from all directions towards that point. They hastened on, not
without a keen sense of personal danger, but found their way entirely
The Shot On Fort Street
That morning Mr. John
Good had been appointed In the meantime the founders of the new
government ordnance officer, and with three assistants had been
collecting arms and ammunition from different stores. The loading of his
wagon at E. O. Hall & Son's had been watched by several policemen,
detailed for the purpose.
As the wagon was being
driven out of the rear entrance on King street, a policeman snatched at
the reins, and ordered a halt. As the driver kept on, he blew his
whistle, and four or five more policemen came running up. A Fort street
car had just crossed King street, and together with a passing dray,
blocked the way for a few moments. As the wagon turned to go up Fort
street, a struggle ensued, during which Mr. Good shot a policeman
through the shoulder, on which the others fell back. The wagon was then
driven at full speed up Fort street, pursued by two policemen in a hack,
who were kept at a distance by rifles leveled at them from the wagon.
Mr. Good and his men continued on up Fort street to School street, and
then down Punchbowl street to the Armory, where they were glad to see
Capt. Ziegler's company drawn up in line. The wounded man, whose name
was Leialoha, was assisted by another officer and Mr. P. M. Rooney to
the Station house, where he was attended to by Dr. Peterson. He was
afterwards taken to the hospital, and in time entirely recovered from
The Provisional Government Declared
meantime, the founders of the new government had reached the
Government building. All were unarmed. Only one of the volunteer
riflemen had arrived, and none of the Queen's forces were in sight. The
house was nearly "empty, swept and garnished." Lieut. Swinburne withdrew
his men to the rear of Arion hall out of sight, to stack arms, and kept
them at their company parades, except a single sentry pacing the lane in
Mr. Cooper then made
demand upon Mr. Hassinger, the chief clerk of the Interior office, for
possession of the building, and the demand was immediately complied
with, there being no force with which any resistance could have been
made. The Committee now proceeded to the public entrance, and here Mr.
H. E. Cooper read to the gathering crowd the following proclamation:
In its earlier
possessed a Constitutional Government honestly and economically
administered in the public interest.
The Crown called to
its assistance as advisers able, honest and conservative men whose
integrity was unquestioned even by their political opponents.
The stability of
the Government was assured; armed resistance and revolution
unthought of, popular rights were respected and the privileges of
the subject from time to time increased and the prerogatives of the
Sovereign diminished by the voluntary acts of the successive Kings.
With very few
exceptions this state of affairs continued until the expiration of
the first few years of the reign of His late Majesty Kalakaua. At
this time a change was discernible in the spirit animating the chief
executive and in the influences surrounding the Throne. A steadily
increasing disposition was manifested on the part of the King, to
extend the Royal prerogatives; to favor adventurers and persons of
no character or standing in the community; to encroach upon the
rights and privileges of the people by steadily increasing
corruption of electors, and by means of the power and influence of
office holders and other corrupt means to illegitimately influence
the elections, resulting in the final absolute control of not only
the executive and legislative; but to a certain extent the judicial
departments of the government, in the interest of absolutism.
resulted in the revulsion of feeling and popular uprising of 1887,
which wrested from the King a large portion of his ill-gotten
The leaders of this
movement were not seeking personal aggrandizement, political power
or the suppression of the native government. If this had been their
object it could easily have been accomplished, for they had the
absolute control of the situation.
Their object was to
secure responsible government through a representative Cabinet,
supported by and responsible to the people's elected
representatives. A clause to this effect was inserted in the
Constitution and subsequently enacted by law by the Legislature,
specifically covering the ground that, in all matters concerning the
State the Sovereign was to act by and with the advice of the Cabinet
and only by and with such advice.
The King willingly
agreed to such proposition, expressed regret for the past, and
volunteered promises for the future.
Almost from the
date of such agreement and promises, up to the time of his death,
the history of the Government has been a continual struggle between
the King on the one hand and the Cabinet and the Legislature on the
other, the former constantly endeavoring by every available form of
influence and evasion to ignore his promises and agreements and
regain his lost powers.
This conflict upon
several occasions came to a crisis, followed each time by submission
on the part of His Majesty, by renewed expressions of regret and
promises to abide by the constitutional and legal restrictions in
In each instance
such promise was kept until a further opportunity presented itself,
when the conflict was renewed in defiance and regardless of all
Upon the accession
of Her Majesty Liliuokalani, for a brief period the hope prevailed
that a new policy would be adopted.
This hope was soon
blasted by her immediately entering into conflict with the existing
Cabinet, who held office with the approval of a large majority of
the Legislature, resulting in the triumph of the Queen and the
removal of the Cabinet. The appointment of a new Cabinet subservient
to her wishes and their continuance in office until a recent date
gave no opportunity for further indication of the policy which would
be pursued by Her Majesty until the opening of the Legislature in
May of 1892.
The recent history
of that session has shown a stubborn determination on the part of
Her Majesty to follow the tactics of her late brother, and in all
possible ways to secure an extension of the royal prerogatives and
an abridgment of popular rights.
During the latter
part of the session, the Legislature was replete with corruption;
bribery and other illegitimate influences were openly utilized to
secure the desired end, resulting in the final complete overthrow of
all opposition and the inauguration of a Cabinet arbitrarily
selected by Her Majesty in complete defiance of constitutional
principles and popular representation.
such result the defeated party peacefully submitted to the
Not content with
her victory, Her Majesty proceeded on the last day of the session to
arbitrarily arrogate to herself the right to promulgate a new
Constitution, which proposed among other things to disfranchise over
one-fourth of the voters and the owners of nine-tenths of the
private property of the Kingdom, to abolish the elected upper House
of the Legislature and to substitute in place thereof an appointive
one to be appointed by the Sovereign.
history of this attempt and of the succeeding events fn connection
therewith is given in the report of the Committee of Public Safety
to the citizens of Honolulu, and the resolution adopted at the mass
meeting held on the 16th inst., the correctness of which report and
the propriety of which resolution are hereby specifically affirmed.
evolution indicated has slowly and steadily, though reluctantly, and
regretfully, convinced an overwhelming majority of the conservative
and responsible members of the community that independent,
constitutional, representative and responsible government, able to
protect itself from revolutionary uprisings and royal aggression is
no longer possible in Hawaii under the existing system of
Five uprisings or
conspiracies against the government have occurred within five years
and seven months. It is firmly believed that the culminating<
revolutionary attempt of last Saturday will, unless radical measures
are taken, wreck our already damaged credit abroad and precipitate
to final ruin our already overstrained financial condition ; and the
guarantees of protection to life, liberty and property will steadily
decrease and the political situation rapidly grow worse.
In this belief, and
also in the firm belief that the action hereby taken is, and will be
for the best personal, political and property interests of every
citizen of the land.
We, citizens and
residents of the Hawaiian Islands, organized and acting for the public safety and the
common good, hereby proclaim as follows:
1. The Hawaiian
Monarchical system of Government is hereby abrogated.
2. A Provisional
Government for the control and management of public affairs and the
protection of the public peace is hereby established, to exist until
terms of union with the United States of America
have been negotiated and agreed upon.
3. Such Provisional
Government shall consist of an Executive Council of four members,
who are hereby declared to be S. B. DOLE, J. A. KING, P. C. JONES,
W. O. SMITH, Who shall administer the Executive Departments of the
Government, the first named acting as President and Chairman of such
Council and administering the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the
others severally administering the Department of Interior, Finance
and Attorney-General, respectively, in the order in which they are
above enumerated, according to existing Hawaiian Law as far as may
be consistent with this Proclamation ; and also of an Advisory
Council which shall consist of fourteen members who are hereby
declared to be
S. M. DAMON
L. A. THURSTON
J. F. MORGA
J. A. McCANDLESS
E. D. TENNEY
F. W. McCHESNEY
W. R. CASTLE
W. G. ASHLEY
W. C. WILDER
Council shall also have general legislative authority.
Such Executive and
Advisory Councils shall, acting jointly, have power to remove any
member of either Council and to fill such or any other vacancy.
4. All officers
under the existing Government are hereby requested to continue to
exercise their functions and perform the duties of their respective
offices, with the exception of the following named persons:
CHARLES B. WILSON,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
W. H. CORNWELL,
Minister of Finance,
JOHN F. COLBURN,
Minister of the Interior,
ARTHUR P. PETERSON,
who are hereby
removed from office.
5. All Hawaiian
Laws and Constitutional principles not inconsistent herewith shall
continue in force until further order of the Executive and Advisory
E. COOPER, Chairman
W. C. WILDER
WM. O. SMITH
WM. R. CASTLE
H. I., January 17th, 1893
While the proclamation
was being read Mr. S. M. Damon asked Mr. C. L. Carter to go over and ask
Lieut. Swinburne if he would send them a guard. Lieut. Swinburne
"Capt. Wiltse's orders
are that I remain passive, or neutral."
the time that the reading was finished, (2:30 p. M.) men of Company A
under Capt. Ziegler, arrived on the double quick, in company order.
Directly after, Company B under Capt. Potter, began to arrive. The
then cleared and guards set at the gates and by 3 o'clock there were
nearly 100 riflemen drawn up, awaiting orders.
An hour later it was
estimated that there were about 200 volunteer troops present. During the
afternoon until dark, citizens were continually arriving and being
enrolled for service, and patrols were organized to guard the city and
its suburbs during the night. At the same time a temporary military
organization was formed with J. H. Soper at its head. He named as his
aids George F. McLeod, D. B. Smith, John Good. Fred. Wundenberg and J.
H. Fisher. Captains Hugh Gunn, George C. Potter, Charles Ziegler and J.
M. Camara, Jr., were placed in command of the different companies.
Pickets were then
stationed all over the city to carry out the provisions of Martial Law
which had been proclaimed by the new government.
After the reading of
the proclamation, the new government at once took possession of the
Treasury and all the departments. The following orders were issued:
HONOLULU, H. I., Jan.
GOVERNMENT OF THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS.
ORDER No. 1.
favorable to the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands are
hereby requested to forthwith report to the Government at the
Government building to furnish the Government such arms and
ammunition as they may have in their possession or control as soon
as possible, in order that efficient and complete protection to life
and property and the public peace may immediately and efficiently be
put into operation.
ORDER No. 2.
It is hereby
ordered and decreed that until further orders the right of the writ
of habeas corpus is hereby suspended and Martial Law is hereby
declared to exist throughout the Island of Oahu.
All liquor saloons were
closed for a time.
Soon after the reading
of the Proclamation President Dole sent notes to all the Diplomatic and
Consular representatives of other governments, informing them of what
had been done, and asking for their recognition of the Provisional
Government. Mr. Stevens sent down his aid, Mr. Pringle, before 4 p. M.
to the Government building to ascertain whether the Provisional
Government was actually in possession.
- About the same time
Major J. H. Wodehouse, the British Commissioner, with the British
Vice-Consul, Mr. T. R. Walker, called upon President Dole, to verify the
report of the occupation and to learn the object of the movement. After
leaving the room he spoke of it as an oral recognition.
His formal written
recognition was received on the 20th.
Mr. Fuji, the Japanese
Consul-General, called a little later. About 4:30 p. M.. Capt. Wiltse
and Lieut. Swinburne had an interview with President Dole in what had
been the office of the Minister of the Interior. The situation was
explained to them, and Capt. Wiltse was asked if he was prepared to
recognize the new government. As Lieut. Swinburne states:
"In answer Capt. Wiltse
asked if their Government had possession of the Police Station and
President Dole replied
that they were not yet in possession of them, but expected to hear of it
very soon. To this Capt. Wiltse replied: "Very well, gentlemen, I cannot
recognize then the late ministry' was announced, and he withdrew.
Neither party suggested
the idea of his assisting the Provisional Government. Nor had any
recognition been received from Mr. Stevens.
The volunteer troops
also understood that the United States blue jackets were under orders to
remain neutral, and they fully, expected to fight their own battles.
Last Appeal Of The
Cabinet To Stevens
Information of the
proclamation of the Provisional Government had been promptly brought to
the Station House by Mr. McCarthy and others. Mr. Wilson proposed to
attack the Provisional Government before it had time to collect its
forces, but Mr. Peterson objected that this course would only lead to a
conflict with the United States troops. Accordingly, the
Cabinet decided, after consulting Messrs. E. C. Macfarlane, A. Rosa and
others, to address a letter to Minister Stevens in order to find out
whether he had recognized or would recognize the Provisional Government.
The letter was dictated by Mr. Peterson, and was as follows:
"HONOLULU, Jan. 17th,
To His Excellency JOHN
L. STEVENS, U. S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Sir: Her Hawaiian Majesty's Government having been
informed that certain persons unknown to them have issued a
proclamation declaring a Provisional Government to exist in
opposition to Her Majesty's Government, and having pretended to
depose the Queen, Her
Cabinet and Marshal, and that certain treasonable persons at present
occupy the Government building in Honolulu with an armed force, and
pretending that your excellency, on behalf of the United States of
America, has recognized such Provisional Government Her Majesty's
Cabinet asks respectfully, has your excellency recognized said
Provisional Government, and if not, Her Majesty's Government, under
the above existing circumstances, respectfully requests the
assistance of your government in preserving the peace of the
We have the honor, to
be your excellency's obedient servants,
(Signed) SAMUEL PARKER,
Minister of Foreign
WILLIAM H. CORNWELL,
Minister of Finance
JOHN F. COLBURN, Minister of Interior
A. P. PETERSON, Attorney General
This letter was
dispatched by Mr. C. L. Hopkins to Minister Stevens a little after 3 P.
As Mr. Stevens was ill,
his daughter asked Mr. Hopkins to wait or to call again in an hour and
he chose to wait. Mr. Stevens' reply which was received at the Station
house near 4 P. M., has never been given to the public, but the
substance of it may be gathered from the following entry on the files of
the U. S. Legation:
Jan. 17th, 1895
About 4 to 5 P. M. of
this date am not certain of the precise time the note on file from the
four ministers of the deposed Queen, inquiring if I had recognized the
Provisional Government, came to my hands while I was lying sick on the
couch. Not far from 5 P. M. I did not think to look at my watch I
addressed a short note to Hon. Samuel Parker, Hon. Wm. H. Cornwell, Hon.
John F. Colburn and Hon. A. P. Peterson, (no longer regarding them as
ministers), informing them that I had recognized the Provisional
(Signed) JOHN L.
STEVENS, U. S. Minister
This reply from Mr.
Stevens decided the Queen's Cabinet to resign, but it appears that his
letter of recognition was not received by the Provisional Government
till more than an hour later.
The Queen's Surrender
After receiving the
above note from Mr. Stevens, the Queen's Cabinet sent Mr. Mehrtens, the
Deputy Marshal, to the Government building, to invite the Executive
Council to come to the Police Station for a conference. This, the
Council refused to do, but sent an assurance to the Queen's Ministers of
their personal safety, if they would come up and talk over the
Parker and Cornwell came up and held a brief conference. At their
suggestion, Messrs. Damon and Bolte were deputed to accompany them back
to the Police Station. On arriving there, a consultation was held in the
deputy marshal's office, between Messrs. Damon and Bolte on one side and
the Queen's Cabinet with Messrs. Neumann and E. C. Macfarlane on the
other side, in regard to the surrender of the Station house and
The two former told the
Queen's representatives, that their cause was lost, and that they would
be responsible for useless bloodshed, if they persisted in holding out.
Mr. Wilson refused to surrender except on the written order of the Queen
and her Cabinet. The latter proposed to surrender under protest. Messrs.
Bolte and Damon then returned (about 5 P. M.) in company with the four
ministers, to the Government building, where they held a conference with
the Executive Council in the Interior Office, President Dole said that
he would prefer to settle the matter without recourse to arms, and made
a demand upon them to deliver up to him what government property
remained in their possession. They asked for a truce till the next day,
which was refused. They then said that before a final answer could be
given, it would be necessary for them to consult with the Queen, and
asked that Mr. Damon should assist them in explaining the situation to
her. Their own influence with her had been much impaired since the
affair of the 14th.
About this time, not far from 5:30 p. M., Minister Stevens' recognition
of the Provisional Government as the Government de facto, was brought in
by Mr. Geo. H. Paris. It was as follows:
"UNITED STATES LEGATION, HONOLULU, H. I., Jan. 17, 1893
A Provisional Government having been duly constituted
in the place of the recent government of Queen Liliuokalani, and
said Provisional Government being in full possession of the
Government buildings, the archives and the treasury, and in control
of the Capitol of the Hawaiian Islands, I hereby recognize said
Provisional Government as the de facto Government of the Hawaiian
(Signed) JOHN L. STEVENS, U. S. Envoy
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
It should be observed in this connection that a recognition is a very
different thing from an alliance. Although this recognition of the
'Provisional Government as the de facto Government, gave it the moral
support of the U. S. Minister, it gave no one any reason to expect that
the U. S. naval forces would depart in the slightest degree from their
attitude, nor did it preclude
a trial of strength between the opposing parties.
In the mean time Mr. Mehrtens had been sent
to request the attendance of Mr. J. O. Carter, who arrived at the
Council Chamber, (the former office of the Minister of Finance), a
little before 6 P. M., when he learned that Mr. Stevens had just
recognized the Provisional Government. He was then asked to accompany
Mr. Damon to the Palace, the
Queen's Cabinet having already gone over. No instructions
or credentials were given them, and it does not appear that they were
empowered to negotiate any terms of surrender.
They found the Queen in the blue room in
consultation with her four ministers, besides Messrs. Paul Neumann, E.
C. Macfarlane, H. A. Widemann and others. Mr. Damon
at once informed her of
the establishment of the Provisional Government and of her deposition as
Sovereign, and added that she might prepare a protest if she wished to
do so. Messrs. J. O. Carter, Widemann and Neumann advised her to resign
under protest, in the hope and expectation that her case would be
considered at Washington.
Mr. Widemann referred to the restoration of the flag in 1843 after a
conditional cession to Great Britain, as a parallel case. At the Queen's
request, Mr. Neumann proceeded to draft a protest, which does credit to
his shrewdness and foresight. Meanwhile an order was sent to Marshal
Wilson to surrender the Station House, which he refused to do. By this
time the lamps had been lighted, and the Queen's surrender was signed
about 6:30 P M. It is as follows:
of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency,
John L. Stevens, has caused
United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he
would support the Provisional Government.
"I Liliuokalani, by the Grace of God
and under the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby
solemnly protest against any and all acts done against" myself and
the Constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain
persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and
for this Kingdom.
"That I yield to the superior force
of the United States
"Now to avoid any collision of armed
forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do under this protest and
impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the
Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being
presented to it, undo the action of its representative and
reinstate" me in the authority which I claim as the Constitutional
Sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands."
Done at Honolulu this 17th day of January, A. D. 1893
Minister of Foreign Affairs
WM. H. CORNWELL,
Minister of Finance
Mr. Damon and the ex-ministers then returned to the Government Building
with the Queen's protest, which was received by President Dole, and
endorsed as follows:
"Received from the hands of the late Cabinet, this
17th day of January. 1893.
(Signed) SANFORD B. DOLE, Chairman of the
Executive Council of the Provisional Government
Before endorsing it, he said to his colleagues, "here is a statement
which they want to file, and I see no objection to acknowledging its
It is now evident, however, that the acceptance of that protest without
an express denial of the misleading allegation contained therein, was a
grave political mistake. Little importance or significance was attached
to it at the time by most people, but its consequences have been
momentous and far reaching. If an unqualified surrender had been
insisted upon at that time, even at the cost of a little bloodshed, it
might have settled matters once for all on a solid basis.
While the terms of the
Queen's surrender were being discussed at the Palace, President Dole
wrote to Mr. Stevens, suggesting the co-operation of the United States
troops with the citizen volunteers during the night in preserving order.
The letter was as follows:
GOVERNMENT BUILDING, HONOLULU, January 17, 1893
His EXCELLENCY JOHN L. STEVENS, UNITED STATES
Sir: I acknowledge the receipt of your valued
communication of this day, recognizing the Hawaiian Provisional
Government, and express deep appreciation of the same. We have
conferred with the Ministers of the late Government, and have made
demand upon the Marshal to surrender the Station House. We are not
actually in possession of the Station House, but as night is
approaching and our forces may be insufficient to maintain order, we
request the immediate support of the United States forces, and would
request that the Commander of the United States forces take command
of our military forces so that they may act together for the
protection of the city.
SANFORD B. DOLE, Chairman of Executive Council
Endorsed as follows: The above request not complied with.
This request met with a prompt refusal from Capt. Wiltse, which again
illustrates the strict neutrality observed by the forces of the United
States. The event proved the request to have been unnecessary.
Surrender Of The
Station House And Barracks
About 7 P. M. the Queen's Ministers returned to the Station House,
accompanied by Messrs. Neumann, E. C. Macfarlane, A. Rosa and others,
and showed Marshal Wilson the Queen's protest, upon which he consented
to surrender the place and the arms in his possession. About 7:30 P. M.
it was formally delivered up to Messrs. J. H. Soper and J. A. McCandless,
when a detachment of twenty riflemen under Capt. Ziegler marched in and
About the same time Capt. Nowlein, commander of the Queen's troops,
reported to President Dole for orders, and was directed to keep his men
and all their arms inside of the barracks for the night, and not to post
guards as heretofore in the palace enclosure.
His men were paid off and disbanded on the evening of the 18th, when
ninety Springfield rifles, seventy-five Winchesters, one Catling gun and
an Austrian field battery of eight pieces, with a large stock of
ammunition were turned over to the Provisional Government.
The Queen left the Palace about 11 A. M. of Wednesday, the 18th, and
retired to her private residence, known as Washington Place.
The Councils remained in session until 11 P. M. Tuesday
On the 18th of January, the Provisional Government was recognized as the
de facto government of the Hawaiian Islands, by the diplomatic and
Consular representatives of Austro-Hungary, Belgium, Chili, Denmark,
France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Russia
and Spain. The representatives of Great Britain and Japan delayed their
formal recognition until the 20th.
On the 19th, the U. S. force in Arion Hall was removed to much more
commodious quarters in the Bishop premises on King Street, formerly
called "Aigupita" which was for the time named "Camp Boston."
Dispatch Of The Annexation Commissioners
The closing scenes of the Legislature of 1892, and the attempted Coup
d'état of January 14, had convinced many conservative citizens that
annexation to the United States was the only step that would secure
permanent peace and prosperity to the Islands. It was the hope of
annexation that gave unity and confidence to the supporters of the
revolution, and had been declared to be its ultimated object in the
proclamation of the Provisional Government, Besides as Senator Morgan
has stated, "speedy action in completing the tained. Recruits flowed in
steadily, without any special union was desirable for many obvious
reasons, among which the injurious disturbance to commerce and danger to
the public peace, growing out of a protracted agitation of so grave a
matter, are conspicuous." Accordingly it was decided to dispatch the
steamer Claudine at once to San Francisco with a Commission, empowered
to negotiate a treaty of union with the United States. She sailed from
Honolulu in the morning of Thursday, the 19th of January for San
Francisco with the special Commission to Washington on board, which
consisted of Messrs. L. A. Thurston, W. C. Wilder, W. R. Castle, J.
Marsden and C. L. Carter.
Thurston, W. C. Wilder, W. R. Castle, J. Marsden, C. L. Carter
The Queen was allowed to send letters by the same vessel, but a passage
on it was denied her envoys. Many prominent citizens were present at the
Wilder dock to bid them God speed, and on the departure of the vessel,
three hearty cheers were given for the Commission.
The voyage was prosperous and on the morning of January 28, the
Commission landed in San Francisco, leaving on the following day for
Among the first acts of the Provisional Government was the repeal of the
Lottery act and of the Opium License law, which had been signed by the
Queen January 13. Measures were promptly taken for organizing the
National Guard of Hawaii. Strong guards of Volunteers were kept up at
the Government building as well as at the Palace, the barracks and
police station, and regular street patrols were main effort to obtain
So far the government
had been sustained and good order preserved by the voluntary services of
the best citizens of Honolulu. Time was needed to form a new police
force and to organize and drill a small body of regular troops.
Meanwhile the incessant agitation and the alarming rumors kept up by the
opponents of the Government produced a general feeling of uneasiness.
Besides this, there was pressure from without. As Mr. Stevens afterwards
stated before a Committee of the -United States Senate, the Japanese
Consul-General had lost no time in demanding of the new Government the
right of suffrage for Japanese subjects in the Islands, and had sent a
request to his government by the Claudine for a powerful cruiser, in
addition to the training ship Kongo. A British ship of war was expected
by the British Commissioner, who strongly opposed the project of
annexation to the United States. It was believed that any outbreak, even
if it was promptly crushed, would give color to the assertion at
Washington that affairs in Hawaii were in a chaotic state, and that the
Provisional Government had no stable authority. The strain on the
Executive Council was severe.
Accordingly on January 31, it was decided to request Minister Stevens
"to raise the flag of the United States for the protection of the
Hawaiian Islands, for the time being, but not interfering with the
administration of public affairs by this government."
In accordance with the terms of this request, at 8:30 A. M., February
1st, Capt. Wiltse proceeded to the Government building, and a few
moments later the battalion of the U. S. S. Boston under Lieut. Com.
Swinburne, marched up the street, entered the grounds, and drew up in
front of the building.
Detachments from the three volunteer Companies A, B and C were drawn up
in line, under the command of their respective captains, Ziegler, Gunn
and Camara. Just before 9 o'clock Lieut. Rush read in a loud voice the
following proclamation, and punctually at 9 o'clock, amid the breathless
silence of all present, the flag, saluted by the troops, and by the
cannon of the Boston, was raised above the tower of Aliiolani Hale.
The following is the text of the proclamation :
"To THE HAWAIIAN PEOPLE:
At the request of the Provisional Government of the
Hawaiian Islands, I hereby, in the name of the United States of
America, assume protection of the Hawaiian Islands for the
protection of life and property, and occupation of public buildings
and Hawaiian soil, so far as may be necessary for the purpose
specified, but not interfering with the administration of public
affairs by the Provisional Government.
This action is taken, pending, and subject to,
negotiations at Washington.
JOHN L. STEVENS, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary of the United States
United States Legation, February 1, 1893
Approved and executed by G. C. WILTSE, Capt. U.
S. N., Commanding the United States Ship Boston
"Two Weeks of Hawaiian History"
"The custody of the Government building was then turned over to Lieut.
Draper with his company of 25 marines. The American flag floated from
the tower of the Government building, while the Hawaiian flag continued
to float from the flag staff in the grounds.
"The wisdom of the Government's course, in requesting the protectorate,
was justified by the result. A general feeling of relief spread itself
throughout the community. The maintenance of the citizen soldiers, many
of whom could ill spare the strength and time, which they required for
their daily bread had been somewhat burdensome. While these soldiers
were willing to support the Government as long as necessary, most of
them were glad to be able to return to their ordinary occupations. The
power of the Provisional Government to maintain itself against all
coiners was never doubted for a moment, but it was naturally felt that
the safest course was to be in constant readiness for an attack, even
though the probability of any being made might be very small. As a
matter of fact, it is not likely that an armed attempt to overthrow the
government would have been made.
"On Sunday, the 5th of February, martial law was abrogated and the right
of the writ of habeas corpus restored. No use had been made of its
suspension, and no political arrests of any kind were found necessary."
Although, as stated above, the protectorate gave the country two months
of profound peace and security from internal as well as external
dangers, it no doubt prejudiced the cause of annexation at Washington,
and tended to place the Provisional Government in a false light.
In a letter by the U. S. Secretary of State, Hon. John W. Foster, to
Minister Stevens, dated February 11th, he defines the limits of the
protectorate as follows:
"So far, therefore, as your action amounts to
according, at the request of the de facto Sovereign Government of
the Hawaiian Islands, the co-operation of the moral and material
forces of the United States for the protection of life and property
from apprehended disorders, your action is commended. But so far as
it may appear to overstep the limit by setting the authority and
power of the United States above that of the Government of the
Hawaiian Islands, in the capacity of protector, or to impair in any
way the independent sovereignty of the Hawaiian Government by
substituting the flag and power of the United States as the symbol
and manifestation of paramount authority, it is disavowed."
Mr. Stevens claimed that what had actually been done was in exact
accordance with the above dispatch, and said " there was no period in
which I was more unconnected with internal affairs than in that period
when the flag was up."
H. B. M. ship Garnet, Capt. Hughes-Hallet, R. N., arrived February 12th,
and the Japanese protected cruiser Naniwa Kan, arrived on February 28th,
the latter vessel remaining until May 11th. The attitude of the officers
of these two ships while in" port was such as to fully justify the
existing protectorate as a measure of precaution.